5 FAQs About Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation Compliance (and 5 More You Didn’t Think to Ask)

Get familiar with one of the strictest email marketing laws in the world. Are you compliant?
Joan Brehl, Vice President and General Manager, AAM Canada
June 6, 2017

(lire en français)

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has been in effect for several years and has pretty high stakes. Do you know if your email program is CASL compliant? Under CASL the CRTC is able to fine companies that are not compliant up to $10 million per violation. Here are a few frequently asked questions about the law and how AAM can help ensure you are compliant.

 

Why should I be concerned about CASL?

It’s simple: CASL is the law. If you aren’t compliant with CASL, you’re breaking the law and putting your business in jeopardy.

Beginning July 1, consumers can sue companies for $200 per email. Outside of the civil class action lawsuits, CASL also carries a potential $10 million in fines. In both the civil and CRTC violations, company executives and directors can be held responsible.

Those are some pretty serious consequences for a simple email.

 

Who is impacted by CASL?

Any company that sends a promotional commercial electronic message (CEM) to a Canadian. There are no exceptions for country of origin or size of company. Individuals and enterprise companies alike have been fined for CASL violations. The law applies to marketing departments who send email campaigns as well as sales staff who send a single CEM to a person without consent.

 

My company is based in the U.S., do I need to comply with CASL?

Yes. U.S. companies that send CEMs to Canadian residents need to be compliant with CASL. The CRTC and FCC are working together and have forged a “memorandum of understanding on mutual assistance in the enforcement of laws on commercial email and telemarketing.” Dozens of investigations and fines have already resulted from this collaboration.

 

What happens if my company is not compliant with CASL?

If your company is not compliant with CASL then it is breaking the law, and the executives, officers and directors of your company can be held responsible. CASL compliance is a business risk that must be considered carefully.

 

I have an unsubscribe link on my emails. Isn’t that enough?

No. Offering consumers the opportunity to opt-out of emails through an unsubscribe link is just one part of compliance. CASL gives ownership of the email address to the consumer, not the business. To respect this ownership, businesses must have consent—either express or implied—to email the consumer, know how every individual got on the list and your current relationship with them, document your procedures and train your staff on the law.

 

What is consent?

CASL outlines five types of consent:

  • Express consent
  • Implied consent – existing business relationship
  • Implied consent – existing non-business relationship
  • Implied consent – conspicuously displayed or referred
  • Personal relationship

Each of these has different requirements. Download our white paper to learn more about each type of consent and what you need to do to achieve consent.

 

What records do I need to prove I’m CASL compliant?

As part of CASL compliance, companies must have a policies and procedures manual that outlines the effort taken to follow the law and they must have a CASL compliance officer to enforce those policies. They must also know how and when every email on their distribution list got there and the current status of consent. Other documents are also recommended to help companies prove that they’re actively working to obey the law and educate their employees.

 

My company has been working on CASL compliance for some time. Why would I need an audit?

AAM offers compliance audit services for businesses in various stages of CASL compliance. AAM CASL Gap Analysis is ideal for companies that are already in the process of implementing the CASL requirements. AAM CASL experts will work closely with your team to identify any gaps in your program and provide recommendations on how to solve them.

 

I don’t know how to make my program CASL compliant and I don’t have the time to do it. Can AAM help?

AAM CASL Compliance is a full-service program for companies building a program now. AAM will walk you through step-by-step how to create a fully compliant program by reviewing your current practices, developing CASL compliant steps, documenting those steps and providing staff training.

 

Why should I choose AAM to help build a CASL compliant program?

AAM has independently audited publishers for compliance with circulation rules for more than 100 years. We’ve teamed up with Derek Lackey—who literally wrote the book on CASL compliance—to share our expertise and help organizations become fully compliant with the law. Our educational approach ensures you’ll exceed the expectations of both your CEO and the CRTC.

 

Ready to learn more? Contact AAM's Joan Brehl or Angie Sanna.